DALLAS — If it seems like the $500 million Omni Dallas Hotel went up fast, it did. The convention hotel will open more than a month early, in November.
But there's still a piece of unfinished business out there: A small dollop of blacktop on the property that the City of Dallas has failed to purchase.
"If this hotel opens in November, this big open space is still going to be here in front of it," said attorney Clint Schumacher, an expert on property rights with the law firm of Locke, Lord, Bissel and Liddell.
The property is technically a small parking lot, but cars can’t even get to it. In fact, a driver would need to jump the curb and drive on the sidewalk to get there.
Dallas says it still wants the land, but News 8 found the city has done nothing to acquire it in the last year.
"It seems a little unusual that they would not have taken some steps to begin that process by now," Schumacher said.
One year ago, News 8 reported the owner of the property, Carolyn McClain, will make $3 million over the next 82 years from leasing the land.
The city had previously offered her $297,000 for the land, which she rejected. So, now the city must make a better offer or use the law to try to condemn the property for a public use.
In an e-mail, a Dallas spokesperson told News 8 "The city is still seeking the property."
But they have a funny way of showing it.
McClain's lawyer confirms that the city has not made a single move since our last story ran a year ago. Now the hotel is almost ready to welcome guests.
"The fact that they haven't done anything is a pretty good indicator they don't think they have the right to take it if Ms. McClain does not want to sell it," Schumacher said.
There may be a third option.
Schumacher says it’s possible the city could sub-lease the land and dress the property up in something other than asphalt.
But if Dallas plans to resolve its sliver of a real estate problem before the hotel opens, time is running out.